Still must strive to reduce garbage produced

Editor, The News:

The negative response by Fraser Valley Regional District officials to the conditional provincial approval for the GVRD to construct a solid waste incinerator is unreasonable and ill informed.

GVRD municipalities currently generate in excess of one million tonnes of garbage per year.

Of that amount, a portion is placed in landfills such as Burns Bog and some of it is processed at the Burnaby incinerator.

For too many years the remaining several hundred tonnes has been trucked via transfer stations to the huge Ashcroft landfill.

The enormous environmental cost of trucking garbage several hundred miles to the interior is becoming unacceptable and must eventually be eliminated.

The waste stream in every jurisdiction is constantly being reduced to meet emerging modern standards, but there is an ongoing need to find an acceptable method of disposing of the remaining garbage we all generate.

Modern methods of incineration provide an acceptable alternative to landfills, but it is waste reduction, not waste elimination. We must all continue to strive to reduce the amount of garbage we produce.

Having said that, the Burnaby incinerator is constantly monitored to ensure adherence to strict emission guidelines and the power generated is sold to nearby industries.

The plant has been in operation for more than 20 years and has yet to cause any issues in regards to air quality standards.

Incineration is not cheap and that is why the best location for an incinerator would be where there is adjacent industries which can use the power generated and not in some remote area where no cost recovery can be achieved.

As well, the ash from incineration can be contained with little or no threat to the environment.

It is time for FVRD officials to take a more reasoned and informed approach to this matter.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge